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Tag Archives: Grape Profile

Douro: A Portuguese Region Sprinkled with Pixie Dust

Dreams can be silly. Not the kind that leave you befuddled in the morning, wondering if you’re awake or asleep, but the type that remain on your “maybe one day” wish list. I had a dream. From the moment I learned about how Port wine was made, I wanted to climb into the lagars and earn my “purple foot” badge. Today, I’m proud to say that I finally did it! Granted, it was the “tourist version”, sans the 3 hour stomp and the strict discipline in how we marched, but at least my friends and I on the #Douro12 tour did get sticky. Very sticky. Dreams are inherently different from reality. While we were visiting Quinta de Leda, part of […]

Please Name Me!! Newest Addition to the Catavino Family

Today, we would like to announce a brand new addition to the Catavino family. It has a crooked tail, large feet, black fur, piercing gray eyes and zero paw-eye coordination. And no, it’s not a troll, or an ewok (though that would be cool), or a spider monkey (on my future list however!). It’s 1 month old kitten. The kitten was found online and collected just north of Barcelona along a coastal frontage road in Mataro. The adoption process, albeit a bit sketchy, with me climbing into the back of a tinted black Volkswagon Passat where a plastic container of 4 kittens were tumbling among themselves in freaked out desperation, took all of 10 minutes. And although 3 of them […]

Natural Wine: Is It a Friend, Foe or Fabrication?

Editorial Note: Fabio Bartolomei from Vinos Ambiz is not only a self-proclaimed natural winemaker in Spain, but he’s also a friend. Having recently attended the Natural Wine Fair in Barcelona (wrap-up article here) a few weeks ago, getting into a rather lively debate about the true definition of natural wine, we asked Fabio if he wouldn’t mind sharing his views on this highly contentious topic. What follows is a very well structured argument by Fabio surrounding the truths and fabrications of the natural wine movement. Many posts, articles and comments I’ve read about ‘Natural Wine’ tend to cover an overly vast range of topics or mention key points in passing that should be expanded upon. This is frustrating in that an […]

Salón de Vinos Naturales (3 Edición): What Classifies as “Natural Wine”?

A few Sundays ago, I attended the 3rd edition of the Salón de Vinos Naturalesa, an annual event held in Barcelona and hosted by l’Ánima de Vi. We stumbled across L’Ánima de Vi several years ago while wandering the backstreets of Gracia, which features natural wines from Spain, France, and occasionally, various other parts of the world. Though elated that I was able to attend, admittedly, I’m a very skeptical “natural wine” advocate. When you talk about wine, you are talking about one of the most unnatural processes used to create a consumable. Allow me to clarify. If you eat a carrot, there are only 3 steps before getting the carrot into my mouth: Plant the carrot from a seed/sprout. Water it, weed […]

A Vindima: A Geologist’s Take on the Grape Harvest in the Minho

Editor’s Note: A few months ago, Fiona Lynch and her husband Jonathan, two passionate geologists, moved from Scotland to the Lima Valley in Minho region in Portugal. And having unexpectedly participated in a Portuguese grape harvest last fall with their neighbor, Manuel, they kindly offered to share their story. We’re very appreciative of their willingness to share their experience, and hope this will be one of many we can expect from them in the future. It was autumn in the lush Minho region; an area of mist and granite of northern Portugal hard up against the border with Spain. Our elderly neighbour Manuel was calling over to us. It was mid afternoon and time for a drink. He carefully poured […]

Mas Candi: Reinvigorating the Native Grapes of the Penedès

As we’ve boasted on many an occasion, the Penedes is an unlimited geyser of native grapes. From our beloved Xarel.lo, a white chameleon grape capable of displaying intense tropical fruit and mineral aromas, to Samso, a vivacious and precocious  red grape, the Penedes is a multifaceted palette of flavors. Yet, despite our undying support for this treasure trove of gorgeous fruit, it’s uncommon to find a winery equally dedicated to preserving its native resources. Over the years, wineries have eagerly ripped up their perfectly disorganized vineyards, chock full of native grapes, to plant internationally renowned grapes. Though varieties such as Chardonnay, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Gewurztraminer have crafted some impressive wines of both personality and quality in Spain, it […]

Arinto: The Chameleon of Portuguese Whites

When drinking a Portuguese white wine, it’s difficult to encounter one that doesn’t express the lovely flavors of Arinto. Arinto’s big, compact bunches, made up of small or medium-sized yellowish berries are grown and cultivated in just about every wine region in Portugal, but happens to be the most readily available from the regions around the Lisbon area, including Estremadura, Tejo, Terras do Sado and Alentejo. In fact, just for Portuguese whites tasted on the social tasting note site, Adegga.com, Arinto is the number one white varietal with 164 wines currently listed, followed only by Moscatel at 137. However, Arinto is known by many alter-egos depending on who you speak with and where you’re located. In the North, it is […]

Prieto Picudo: Tough Love for an Iberian wine grape

It seems to be the fashion in wine writing today that people champion lesser-known, staunchly individual wines with a sense of place. I believe that, in many cases, this seems to come as a reaction to a Parker method of tasting which tends to examine the wine without a great deal of context. The counter to this, currently espoused by quite a few writers, tries to put the wine in some sort perspective. Some champion wines that determinedly show their place of origin, some seem to prefer ‘the story’ rather than the wine, or any winemaker who thinks that “new oak” is a station on the London underground. There is therefore a tendency to laud winemakers, grape varieties and styles […]

Attention Wine Century Club Members: Indigenous Spanish Grape, Tintilla de Rota

When I speak of Andalucia, Spain, what does your imagination conjure up? For me, my mind immediately pictures searing dry heat that can only be escaped under the vast awnings of family run bars; fried fish and olives served with a tall cool glass of fino sherry; tattered papers clumsily adhered to glass windows beckoning passersby to the next grand horse competition; outside markets filled with fresh herbs, seafood and local produce; and of course, flamenco. What my mind doesn’t conjure up is table wine! But alas, there is a local grape unknown to the majority of the world, and it’s creating some rather incredible and thought-provoking wines. Called Tintilla de Rota, this indigenous grape is grown in a variety […]

Wine of the Week: Sybarus Tardana 2007

If you’ve stayed with Catavino for long enough, it’s inevitable that you’ve heard us debate over the exact number of indigenous grapes in Iberia, and the fact that none of us are certain how many there are.  By some accounts there are approximately 400, and by other accounts, the number soars to over 1,000. This rather large numerical gap was one of the main reasons why we began our Iberian Grape Wiki (currently in a state of renovation), and the same reason why we’ve done very little with it. To keep track, fill in, and monitor such a bear of a database is rather daunting. So it sits, patiently waiting for some loving grape enthusiast to come by and fill […]